"Dark Hallows: 10 Halloween Haunts" Book Review
Written by Jonathan Lees
Published by Scarlet Galleon Publications
Edited by Mark Parker
2015, 170 pages, Fiction
Released on October 22nd, 2015
Whether creating elaborate costumes, transforming your house into a spooky spectacle, gorging on chocolate or waiting in the bushes to ruin a child’s dreams, everyone has rituals. Mine usually involves burying myself in books, comics and movies regarding our sacred Halloween evening. Whenever a new anthology comes out with even a slight whiff of autumnal celebration, it’s an automatic get. So, you can imagine my excitement when I learned of editor Mark Parker’s Dark Hallows: 10 Halloween Haunts, out now from Scarlet Galleons Publications.
Formed around the acquisition of a sinister and unpublished story, "Mr. Parker", from Cemetery Dance founder/author, Richard Chizmar, it might have been easier to just package it with familiar older works to support a book worthy of release. Instead we have six new stories, four very necessary reprints and all seem carefully chosen not unlike ripe apples. You know the kind...dark, crisp and concealing a big fucking razor blade.
While the children in the stories may be wearing the cheap costumes of familiar haunts, Dark Hallows is no cash grab collection of witches, ghosts and zombies. From Lisa Morton's twisted tear through "The Maze", the pint-sized pariah in Ronald Malfi's "Under the Tutelage of Mr. Trueheart" to the seemingly sweet-turned-savage "Starting Early" from Adam Cesare, Dark Hallows has a lot of dark deeds masked by the traditional celebratory proceedings. Every story is firmly rooted on the actual day of Halloween rather than just random terror tales with the holiday’s name slapped across the front to reel in suckers *ahem* like me.
In addition, each tale is bookended by beautiful, black-as-my-heart paintings by Aaron Dries, who obviously wasn't content delivering ten original artworks but also dishes out one of the most original frights of the bunch with his localized Australian yarn of vengeance, "Freight Train Tommy".
Dip your hand in the bag kiddies! Dark Hallows: 10 Halloween Haunts has enough fun-size bites any fan of the genre will enjoy tearing into.